Posted: 18 Jul 2011 01:03 AM PDT
Big Love creators say the HBO show about polygamy told all the stories they wanted to tell.
FOR a while there, it seemed as though the American television series about a polygamous family, Big Love, had lost its way with over-the-top storylines and soap-opera antics. Cast member Chloe Sevigny even reportedly called the fourth season "awful".
The drama revolves around Mormon Bill Henrickson (Bill Paxton) and his three wives Barb (Jeanne Tripplehorn), Nicki (Chloe Sevigny) and Margie (Ginnifer Goodwin).
Incidentally, Sevigny won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Season Three of the series last year.
Speaking over the telephone from Los Angeles, series creators Mark Olsen and Will Scheffer, both in their late 40s, clear the air with regard to the criticism.
Olsen says: "I put my foot in my mouth all the time. She had problems with the season, she thought there was too much story and that's a very valid point of view."
Scheffer adds: "Chloe is one of our best friends, and when that whole brouhaha came out, she called us in tears and was so upset, we felt bad for her."
It seems like all that is water under the bridge now. Olsen says: "She thinks the fifth year is the best year of the show."
At the end of Season Four, Henrickson was elected as the Republican state senator for Utah, and in the new season, the family has to deal with the fallout of being outed for practising polygamy.
When the show was first pitched, Olsen says: "We had to explain and indicate to HBO that there was a way of telling this material and these stories that wasn't icky, that wasn't disgusting." As Scheffer puts it: "We always felt that it was a show about marriage times three. That was always the way we saw it – about family and marriage, through the lens of polygamy."
There were also run-ins with the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints early on as polygamy had been suspended by the church since the 1980s.
Olsen notes: "The Mormon church was extremely hostile to the show when it first aired. They were terrified we were digging up history they didn't want to be associated with and there was a boycott of the show."
On the other hand, the show was embraced by many Mormons and ex-Mormons as "it got to American culture and Mormon culture in a way that was satirical and fun."
Nevertheless, Olsen and Scheffer realised it was time to end the series.
Olsen says: "We began Season Five and realised we were getting close to telling all the stories we wanted to tell. We said what we had to say about fundamentalism, partriarchy and women.
"We didn't want to tread water and fill up space for another year, we wanted to go out strong."
The challenge was to find that perfect ending. Olsen says: "We respected intellectually how The Sopranos ended but we didn't find it emotionally satisfying. We really wanted to have a profound emotional catharsis at the end of our five years and I think we have that."
The acclaimed HBO mobster series The Sopranos ended in 2007 with an ambiguous and controversial blackout shot, leaving viewers debating what really happened to the lead character.
Now that Big Love has ended, Olsen and Scheffer are working on a new show for HBO. The only thing that Olsen reveals is that it has "significant Asian content".
As partners in life as well as in work, Olsen quips: "There is no separation between home and work."
Scheffer says: "We are together all the time, we work a lot of the time and then you have to find some way of shutting off.
"We have a great deal of faith in each other's talent and opinions and ultimately, we feel we make each other better people and artistes when we're together." – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network
Big Love Season Five will be premiering on HBO (Astro Ch 411) in September.Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.
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